ALBANY, GA (WALB) - If you are in a crash or have a medical emergency, will there be enough highly trained first responders to save you?
Staff with Dougherty County Emergency Management Services said there is a shortage of paramedics in South Georgia.
The department is now hiring more entry-level technicians to make up the shortfall.
EMS Director Sam Allen explained there's a recent trend where paramedics are staying for a couple of years, then moving on to nursing or higher level and higher paid healthcare positions.
And that's creating a shortage, not just in Dougherty County, but all of Georgia.
"Paramedics are moving on to venture into nursing or physician assistant," Allen remarked.
It's a growing trend that's happening across the state.
Many ambulance services from Macon to Atlanta and now Dougherty County are hiring Level B Emergency Management Technicians to fill in the gaps.
Allen reviewed the state EMS office's scope of practice to see who's allowed to do certain skills whether it's an EMT B, the intermediate A, or a paramedic.
The office also provided the qualifications requirements for an EMT B.
"Many services have already gone to an EMT B along with a paramedic, so there's always going to be a paramedic on board," explained Allen.
And there are many reasons for that.
An EMT B cannot start an IV or a deep suction and an EMT A can't read a cardiac monitor or give medicine.
Albany State University and Albany Tech both offer first responder programs to provide trainees.
"We're actually fortunate that we could get them on as an EMT B because we're able to help teach and train along with the schools as they get their certification," said Allen.
Starting at $12.77 an hour, Allen said it's the passion to serve others that's most rewarding.
"One day you may run into a person that says 'hey you took care of me and I appreciate what you did' and you have an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life," he added.
There are 10 to 15 EMT B part-time positions available and residents can apply for those next week.
You have to be 21 and you have to be a licensed EMT B or A or paramedic to work at Dougherty County EMS Department.
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